DAVE'S TRUE STORY
Caffe Lena, Saratoga, NY
June 17, 2006
by Albert Brooks
Ned has a big Dutch wife. She sweeps the floors and makes the beds. Ned leads a simple life; but Ned doesn't know his wife!
So begins one of the many tales, penned with original words and music by former playwright Dave Cantor, and vivified by the marvelously talented Dave's True Story at Caffe Lena in Saratoga, NY before an enthusiastic audience this past Saturday (June 17, 2006). Over the course of two sets, and a two song encore, DTS presented a rich and synchronous tapestry of seductive narrative and harmony, weaving Cantor's craftily inventive lyrics, spinning stories of beauty, woe, longing and irony, among other emotions, with spare but effective instrumentation, perfectly channeled by Kelly Flint's beautifully versatile voice.
I know my words astound, but I swear I'm not unsound. It's now or never darling, for this is my last go-round.
DTS is a sophisticated quartet out of New York City comprising the stellar musicianship of Dave Cantor on guitar, Jeff Eyrich on acoustic bass, George (Jorge) Mel on drums, and with Kelly Flint providing the lead vocals. On Saturday, the crowd at Caffe Lena were treated to DTS' "Spasm", "Sequined Mermaid Dress", "Sex without Bodies", "Trollope", and "Chasing the White Line Down", among other gems, many of which were audience member requests. Particular highlights were "Flexible Man", "Stormy", "Last Go-Round", "Dog's Life" and "Nadine", which is a song written from the perspective of a woman to a woman by Dave Cantor. You have to hear this group (either in person or on disc) to realize how good they are, as the above titles suggest but fall well short of conveying the depth, texture and substance of these songs, not to mention the sensuous magic with which they are invested by Ms. Flint. But be forewarned, to listen to DTS is to become a fan.
I'll read Don Quixote five or six times through. I'll read Jackie Collins till my face turns blue. Hell, I'll even read Bukowski too. But I'll never read Trollope again. No, I'll never read Trollope again.
In addition to the above, Ms. Flint sung two Dylan songs ("You're a Big Girl Now" and "I Want You") from DTS' most recent cd (A Simple Twist of Fate - DTS Does Dylan), which was particularly appropriate as Caffe Lena is well known as having been a seminal venue for the incomparable Mr. Dylan. Ms Flint also graced us with a luscious "Fever", and even gave a nod to George Gershwin with "I've Got a Crush on You", each exquisitely presented. I'm here to tell you this lady can sing (and can sing anything: cabaret, country and western, jazz, torch song and tender ballad)!
I made you cry, I made you blue, but please don't fly as you seem inclined to do. Cause I'd rather die than say goodbye to you. I'm so repentant.
As an aside, Ms. Flint advised me that she is not a jazz singer (tongue in cheek), and later announced that she is about to embark on a solo project, singing and recording her own tunes. But don't worry DTS fans, she remains as singer and the lead performer for Dave's True Story. While it does not seem likely at the moment, I hope at some future juncture Ms. Flint will consider a cd of jazz standards. For me, that would be a perfect fit.
And it pulls me in. And it pulls me in. It pulls me in. I can't abide this stranger in my skin; or is it just Nirvana setting in.
While DTS has six cds available, and is a group that provides as hip an evening of music as any I can think of, it is inexplicably largely unknown by the public. The public (like Ned in the case of his wife) needs to get hip to DTS! I hope (know) that will happen; DTS is too good for it to remain otherwise.
Finally, Sarah Craig, Manager, and Caffe Lena staff have to be acknowledged here for all their assistance, hospitality and for the wonderful, historical setting provided by this venerable cultural institution!
Albert Brooks is an area attorney, long time jazz fan and perpetual student of the saxophone.